After all the hype and publicity (and Adele sounding out her love of the place) surrounding the opening of the Forever 21 store in the Bullring, Birmingham, I was fated to visit this weekend when I went to see the boyf. I wasn't sure what to expect, but whatever it was, I was heavily disappointed.
The first thing that annoyed me was the shop assistants. Not their fault of course, but every time some poor employee plastered that fake smile on their faces and said to me "hello there, can I help you?" I wanted to cry. Clarks - yes, when you're 12 years old and getting school shoes fitted. A clothes shop, no. I will ask for help if I need help, thankyou very much. I'm definitely a shop-in-peace sort of girl, I'm not even very good at browsing with a friend in arm, I go off into my own little world and tend to get the job done properly, but being approached every five minutes must annoy anyone? Surely?
The second thing that bugged me was the layout of the store. Things just seemed haphazard and very badly designed. One poor piece of staging was the fact that you had to traipse through the lingerie section to get to the shoes. The accessories section, though their redeeming feature, was a mismash of bags, jewellery and knitted accessories. I imagine they had tried to go for the market-style of browsing and uncovering hidden treasures, but to be fair, if I want to look at earrings, I'll look for an earring stand. Not next to the socks.
And even once there, I wasn't impressed. It was as if they'd thought, "hmm, young girls wear heels. Let's sell some heels!" No inspiration, nothing unique, no real identity of the place. Across the entire store, and I looked across all three floors, I found one brocade skirt and one lacey pair of shorts which ticked my boxes. Now this could be due to the fact that American style is still being cemented in the UK, and so to me, a lot of it seemed below the usual standard of design. No doubt the clothes are well made, but exciting? Prices are exceptionally reasonable, between the standard of H&M and Topshop I would say, though half the time it didn't inspire me to even visit the changing rooms.
Wow. I never thought so much could be said upon the opening of a new store, but there you have it.
I've calmed down considerably now (no more phonecall rants to unsuspecting Liam) but first impressions were not good. I understand that I'm probably being too harsh considering its a new brand to come over to the UK, and as yet I don't have an opinion of it. It doesn't seem to (yet) have its niche in the retail market and that is one of its downfalls. Though, I'm willing to give it another chance, and the potential has to be there since I've seen so many bloggers rock Forever 21 oriented outfits in the past. I'll give it time, and possibly another visit until I cement my opinion, but I'd be interested to hear what you guys think. xox